Tuesday 23 October 2012

Another dull grey day, but at least there is a bit of autumn colour to be seen.

The male Tawny Owl has been sitting in precisely the same spot in a lime tree every time I have visited it during the past week. With their offspring now dispersed, and the new breeding season not yet under way, there is nothing to disturn their routine. An investigation of the pellets that they regurgitate showed that by far the largest part of their diet consists of house mice, with fewer wood mice and some smaller rats -- adult rats are too larger for them, of course. You hardly ever see house mice in the park. However, they seem to be abundant in the areas of the park where the grass is left to grow long over the summer. It is mown once a year, which happened several weeks ago. The man who operates the tractor-driven mower said that, from the height of his seat, he could see hundreds of mice fleeing as the machine bore down on them.

There was a Pied Wagtail beside the lake, normally a common sight but they are only just returning to their usual haunts after the Olympics. It is hard to know what drove them away, since they are quite often seen and heard in the streets, but probably it was the disturbance to the area where they congregated, which was in the southern half of the Parade Ground.

At the edge of the reed bed by the Diana fountain, a Robin was investigating some seed heads for something to eat. The small birds that I feed in Kensington Gardens have become noticeably hungrier in the past few days, as the first signs of the approach of winter begin to appear.

The Jays are perpetually hungry and will swoop down rapidly from the trees for a thrown peanut.

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